By Ted Waddell
LIBERTY In Monday afternoon’s Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV soccer match between the Liberty Lady Indians and the visiting Fallsburg Lady Comets (0-7, 0-2), the home team prevailed by a 3-1 score.
Liberty (3-5, 1-1 Div. IV) took the lead in the opening half as Michelle Fancher scored on an assist by Jasmine Walizadeh.
In the second half, Brittany Melchick scored to make it a 2-0 match.
Erinn Gilmore put the Lady Comets in the scorebook, to narrow the Lady Indians’ lead to a single goal (2-1).
Then Fancher was back in action, scoring her second goal of the match to give the Lady Indians a two-goal victory.
Liberty starting goalkeeper Sara Hazelnis had 13 saves, while Maggie Sauchuk, who took over in the second half, made one save. Fallsburg goalie Ashley Hong recorded six saves.
The Lady Indians held the advantage in shots (39-12) and corner kicks (7-0).
“We were playing hard for about the first 30 minutes in the first half, but once that first goal went in they let them have the psychological edge,” said Fallsburg Coach Mandy Biccum.
“After that it was downhill, then slightly uphill and then downhill again,” she added of the rollercoaster ride in scoring.
Fallsburg (0-7, 0-2 Div. IV) took to the field with the minimum of 11 players, as Biccum sent several of her booters over to play for the junior varsity squad.
“I finally got it to a place where I’m playing with mostly varsity level players,” she said.
Echoing sentiments similar to those expressed by other coaches across the county, Biccum said it’s hard to keep up the numbers in sports at a smaller school.
“It’s always a struggle at Fallsburg to get enough girls to compete in both jayvee and varsity [soccer], but we feel it’s important to keep the programs alive,” she said.
“With 11 girls, it always makes things interesting… you’ve got to play a little harder,” Biccum added.
Liberty Coach Ashley Prouty coach summed it up in a few words.
“I think the second half was better than the first half, but we’re still not playing up to our potential,” she said.